Latest News

Making websites that work for printers – magazine article

Thursday, 23 November 2006
By Print 21 Online Article

Blame it on your wife’s cousin, the geeky kid who did a TAFE course in web authoring. He was keen, he was cheap and your wife thought it would be good experience for him. The website he finally turned out wasn’t too bad. Mind, it wasn’t too good either but what does it matter? Back then no one was using the web for real business.

That was few years ago and your web site is still sitting up there on the internet, an object of embarrassment, shunned by staff and customers alike, totally useless and out of date. (The geek left home and joined a millenarian cult that hates the internet, so you can’t even update the new telephone numbers.)

Times have changed —the amount of business being transacted on the web is growing out of sight and you’re becoming painfully aware that it is all passing you by. It is time to revisit the website problem and transform it into an opportunity. But don’t go near the geeks again! Not even your wife’s brother.

Navigators show the way

Not all websites are created equal and that holds especially true for printing companies’ cyber-efforts, whose goal is to drive business and create revenue through the internet. Building an effective graphic arts website is a specialised undertaking that requires specialised skills, according to John Weichard, director of Melbourne-based communi-cations provider, D2P. “We’ve done a lot of research in the graphic arts, and it’s surprising how many printing companies don’t have a website. And if they do exist, they’re often crap.”

“Most of them are two to three years old and built with that technology, which makes it an extremely painful process dealing with them. They’re glorified brochures with questionable benefit to the company concerned,” he said.

D2P concentrates on making web sites for printing companies. Of course, it does a lot more than that; no one, not even your wife’s brother can survive on web design alone. But D2P’s websites are the result of a lot of experience in serving graphic arts companies that want their web presence to be an active, revenue generating resource for the company. As a result, what you see upfront on the screen, ‘the image of the company’, is only the tip of the iceberg insofar as the functionality goes.

It’s a relationship thing

In the D2P philosophy, a website should not only present a company, it should also facilitate the relationship between the company and its customers. That means having a commercial and process-driven workflow that can accept quotes, prepare proposals and importantly, process files is a fast and efficient manner. This is what D2P calls the Navigator and it is becoming the web presence of choice for a growing number of Melbourne printing companies.

“D2P Navigator is a result of the eight years that D2P has spent connecting printers to the internet and installing systems to help them better deal with customer-delivered artwork,” says Weichard. “Navigator takes all of the established D2P systems and wraps them in a state-of-the-art custom built website for each printer that subscribes. Navigator uses sophisticated (and legal), internet marketing techniques to leverage the competitive advantage of the superior workflow to drive up the revenue and profit of the Navigator Printer.”

Catching files, not flies

Navigator as a concept is less than 12 months old. The first customer signed up in January this year and the first Navigator web site was delivered in May. Five Navigator websites are now public and, with work in progress, D2P maintains it will be delivering one new site per week until Christmas. While concentrating initially on Melbourne and Victoria generally, printing companies in other states will be able to join the network next year.

Part of the problem with legacy websites is their utter lack of transparency. No one knows what is happening out there, if anything. Navigator websites not only provide ultra fast and secure connectivity but they also track every event in real time and display the results in clear, unambiguous terms.

“Navigator workflow comprises established systems and we are able to gather performance information from the internet with unprecedented range, quality and immediacy,” said Weichard. “Everything being equal, a Navigator printer will have a clear competitive advantage against others in bidding for any printing order.

“Their cost of processing is far less so they can quote a cheaper price with greater profit and the Navigator prepress workflow is much faster, very predictable and reliable so committing to tight deadlines is hazard-free.

Comment on this article

To receive notification of comments made to this article, you can also provide your email address below.